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Us 23, America 15, Vermont 10, Virginia 9, New Jersey 9, Mr. Leahy 6, Hoboken 5, Washington 5, Sandy 4, Mr. Reid 4, Ernie 4, United States 4, Vetter 4, Tony Parmelow 3, Mr. Grassley 3, Mr. Durbin 3, Florida 3, Obama 3, Pleasantville 3, Anise Fournier 2,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    November 15, 2012
    12:00 - 5:00pm EST  

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saved 600 abducted children. today there is an amber alert plan in every single state. ern knee has always recognized the critical role technology plays in these rescue efforts. from the amber alert to his spearheading the launch of the national center's cyber tip line in 1998, this so-called 9/11 for the internet is a clearing center for reports of crimes against children on the internet and so far has received more than 1.5 million reports. ernie is a lawyer and a member of the kentucky bar. he is also a teacher, having held faculty positions at the university of louisville, the university of kentucky, and indiana university. he's been honored by his alma matter,the university of louisville as a distinguished alumnus of the louis brandeis school of law and is an outstanding alumnus of the cheng of arts and sciences.
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i'm pleased to report to my colleagues that ernie will not be leaving the fight for america's kids. no, his passion won't allow him to take a typical retirement. we're lucky that even as he's stepping down from his role at the helm of the center for missing and exploited children, he is a he focused exclusively on his new role as president and c.e.o. of the international center for missing and exploited children. mr. president, if there was some way for me to express the gratitude that thousands -- literally thousands of american families have for ernie and the national center, i certainly would. but that seems impossible. imagine the relief of just one family who fears the worst about a missing son or daughter and then thanks to the national center for missing and exploited children is reunited with their child safe and sound. multiply that by tens of thousands, and you will only
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just begin to see the enormous difference ernie has made during his career. so aim honored to say that i'm watched and admired his work for many years and i'm honored to call him a friend. thank you, ernie, for your great cryings tcontribution to the caf justice. i wrote ernie a letter congratulating him on his career and wishing him well upon his retirement, and i ask unanimous consent that that letter appear innein the record at this point. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: and, madam president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. warner: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. warner: madam president, are we in a quorum? the presiding officer: yes. mr. warner: i'd ask that the proceedings of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. warner: madam president, i rise today to join my colleague and friend, the senator from delaware, chris coons, in introducing legislation that will make voting faster and more accessible to all voters. here we are barely a week after a historic election in 2012 and can speak about north carolina but in virginia, it's remarkable, in 2012 people had to wait for hours in line to vote. in princ prince william county,s waited for up to three hours. in chesapeake, virginia, folks waited up to four hours. it was remarkable that it was five days after the fact before we even knew the results in florida.
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21st century in the greatest democracy in the world, voting shouldn't be this much of a burden. and in many ways, when you have those kind of extraordinary lines, particularly if you're working, what we in effect have created is a 21st century poll tax. and those of us in the south who have a history where poll taxes were used to restrict voters, what you, in effect, have by having these extensive lines, if you are -- work on an hourly basis or can only get off a bit of time and -- you can't afford to wait three and four and five hours in line to vote. this legislation, the fair, accurate, secure and timely voting act of 2012, the so-called fast act, creates a competitive grant program to encourage states to aggressively pursue election reforms. it would provide incentives for states like virginia to invest in practices and technology designed to expedite voting at the polls and simplify voter
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registration. the fast voting act addresses this issue in a responsible way. it doesn't add new mandates. it authorizes simply additional resources for those states which start up -- step up with commonsense reforms to make voting faster and more accessible to voters. this is a relatively very small program but a few dollars spent to both increase the process, increase the number of voting machines at those polling places that are so restricted would, i believe, remove some of the embarrassment that virginia and so many other states saw last week when people had to wait so long. i encourage virginia's elected leaders to embrace this opportunity to improve access for virginia voters who should not have to wait in line for hours to exercise their most basic constitutional right: the right to vote. as i mentioned, this bill authorizes a federal program that would award grants based on
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how well applicant states -- again, states will be the decision-makers whether they want to apply for this program -- are able to improve access to the polls in at least nine specific ways. let me just simply mention three of those. for one, provide absentee voting, including no-excuse absentee voting. we in virginia still have restrictions on -- on prevote. two, providing assistance to voters who do not speak english as a primary language. virginia, north carolina, other states are becoming more diverse and we need to accommodate those voters. and then auditing and reducing waiting time at polling stations. again, no one in the 21st century should have to wait four, five and as some reported cases in florida, up to seven or eight hours to vote. this program, this, again, voluntary grant program, also requires the establishment of performance measures and reporting requirements to ensure a state's progress in eliminating statutory, regulatory, procedural and other
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barriers to expedited voting and accessible voter registration. this is a relatively small bill. i want to commend, though, my colleague, the senator from delaware, senator coons, for taking the lead. i join him as a cosponsor on this. and regardless on which side of the aisle you stand, in 2012 and surely before 2016, we ought to not have a report -- a repeat of this 21st century poll tax that is imposed on folks all across america by not being able to exercise their vote or have to pay a -- too high a price or have the kind of embarrassment where it takes us literally days and days for the public to get the results. madam president, i hope my colleagues will join me in supporting this legislation. and with that, i -- the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mad leahy: ahmadinejs the particle --
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mr. leahy: madam president, what is the parliamentary situation? are we in morning business? the presiding officer: we are postcloture on s. 3525. mr. leahy: i thank the distinguished presiding officer. i'd ask consent to proceed for no more than five minutes as though in morning business and then resume back in the normal regular order. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: madam president, vermont is a small state but it's filled with very big people. perhaps none are better known or more well-liked and more respected than antonio parmelow. he's the vermont chamber of commerce 2012 vermont citizen of the year. vermonters have known antonio parmelow by many names. either call him mr. p. or tony.
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my wife and i also have the good fortune of calling him "uncle tony." he is my wife's uncle and they have the -- they have a family bond which i admire. but no matter what we call him, we all agree the best term to describe uncle tony is "generous." this is not the first time i've come to the floor of the senate to share stories of -- of tony parmelow's good deeds. only six years ago, the "burlington free press" named him the 2006 vermonter of the year. after that editorial, i came to the floor to tell the story of a successful real estate magnet turned philanthropist who touched the lives of thousands of vermonters over the past several decades. at that time, he was 89 years old. but this year, tony's undertaken
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a series of good deeds so substantial it would be irresponsible if we vermonters did not acknowledge him with additional recognition and praise. in addition to his unwavering yophilanthropic commitment to vermont, this year tony demonstrated why he is seen as a pillar of our community, i might say a granite pillar of our community. when tropical storm irene destroyed people's homes, tony immediately donated $1 million to put them back together. when a decades-long struggle to save a mobile home park in shelbourn, vermont, seemed destined to fail, well, uncle tony showed up to rebelieve th e neighborhood and donated to the residents. and when his hometown, newport, vermont, which is also marcel's birthplace, began discussing ways to reinvigorate its
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beautiful waterfront, tony offered to lead the way. now, these three activities over a lifetime, any one of them would warrant a lifetime achievement. tony parmelow did them all in one year at the age of 95. this year's very public good deeds go hand-in-hand with a lifetime of public and private philanthropy. his generosity has touched tens of thousands of vermonters, from college students at st. michael's college where he's been a leading benefactor, to the struggling families who attend his community christmas parties, to the families of our deployed vermont national guard members who were able to come together in celebrations together with tony's support. perhaps the best gift tony
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parmelow has given vermont is a sense of community and work ethic he has instilled in his family and employees. he and his wife rita had ten children, eight of whom remain with us today. nooften one of his many grandchildren travels with him when he goes around the state. vermont is a better place thanks to tony and his good deeds. and on behalf of all vermonters, i thank the vermont chamber of commerce for spotlighting antonio parmelow's good works on behalf of his beloved fellow vermonters -- vermonters. madam president, i ask unanimous consent that my full statement be placed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: madam president, i have five unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent these
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requests be agreed to, these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. leahy: madam president, i see nobody on the floor seeking recognition. i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: dishaict the quorum call be rescinded. the presiding officer: without
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objection. the senator from texas is recognized. mr. cornyn: thank you, mr. president. the american people have spoken and once again they have given us divided government. in that sense, you could say this was a status quo election. before the election just a week or so ago we had president obama in the white house, democrats controlling the senate, and republicans controlling the house of representatives. after the election, we have president obama in the white house for another four years, democrats controlling the senate, and republicans with a majority in the house. what that tells me is the american people don't completely trust either political party to comcome up with all the he was . they want those kinds of checks
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and balances that divided government brings that is conducive of consultation, deliberation, negotiations, and compromise, not the kind of compromise that violates one's most fundamental principles. that would be wrong. but as one of my colleagues had told me, who -- actually, senator enzi -- i'll use him name -- from wyoming, one of the most conservative members on our side from wyoming -- he worked famously with that -- i say this with all due respect -- that liberal lion of the senate, teddy kennedy. he worked to produce legislation oust oout of the health, educat, labor, and pensions committee. one time i asked senator enzi, i asked, how is it that you and teddy kennedy -- in other words,
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one of the most conservative republicans and one of the most liberal democrats -- how did you work together so productively to come together to pass legislation? he said, it's easy. it's easy. he said, it's the 80-20 rule. i know it sounds simplistic, but there is a lost wisdom there, that if two people are trying to work together in a bipartisan way to try to come up with -- to advance solutions to our nation's problems, neither side is going to get all they want, and the only way, perhaps, to come up with moving the ball down the field or advantaging solutions is to say, you know what? don't let the perfect become the enemy of the good. and let's take the 80% that we can agree upon and leave the 20% we can't agree upon for another day and another battle.
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a lot of wisdom in that, it strikes me. the fact of the matter is a guidedivided government -- neitr republicans nor democrats are going to get everything they want. legislation can't pass -- no legislation can pass strictly along partisan lines. it means that bipartisan compromise is the only avenue to avoid further gridlock. now, this congress has kick add lot of cans down the road. we have punted over into the lame-duck session issues that we should have dealt with months ago in the regular order of things without the imminent pressure of the fiscal cliff or other things that threaten to put our country into a recession.
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but the fact of the matter is, divided government has yielded some very positive developments for the american people in the past. in 1986 it produced landmark tax reform, when democrats and republicans -- ronald reagan as president -- worked together to make our tax code more logical, more equitable, and more efficient. ten years later, divided government produced a sweeping overhaul of our welfare system, under then-president bill clinton. conservative republicans joined with a democratic president to help millions of lower-income people break free of the cycle of dependency and despair. of course, we know we've had divided government. as i said earlier, we really had a status quo election in that
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sense. we've had divided government since january 2011 when republicans regained the majority in the house of representatives. the result over the last two years, sadly, it has produced legislative stalemates and bitter recriminations. why should anybody expect that things will be different going forward? i think, mr. president, what's different now from then is that republicans and democrats alike recognize we are at a crossroads, that our current fiscal path is unsustainable, and that we're either going to send the economy back into a recession -- unless we deal with the fiscal cliff and the sequester -- or the alternative is -- and being an optimist by
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nature, i think we have an opportunity to address some of our nation's most challenging fiscal issues. but the fact of the matter is this: you i can't -- i can't -o have someone tell me that i'm wrong. i would love to understand any reason they would disagree with this. but i would say, it should be stipulated by republicans and democrats alike that we cannot continue to run trillion-dollar annual deficits. we cannot continue to run the federal government borrowing 42 cents out of every dollar that the federal government spends. we can't do it. the only reason we could do it now is because interest rates are at historic lows, because of what's happening in europe, the american dollar is probably the only safe currency and safe harbor in the world now for people worried about protecting their savings. but we cannot continue along this path.
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and if, for example, interest rates go up, the amount of money we must pay to our creditors, like china, simply to keep buying our debt -- if it were to go up to historic norms, our national debt would spiral out of control. right now it's -- and you've seen this on your savings, market market account or savings account, if you want to save some money, about the best interest rate you can get a less than 1% return on your savings because the federal reserve has worked to keep interest rates very low in order to help juice the economy and keep -- and hopefully keep us from going into a recession again. but we cannot continue down this path. and if interest rates were to return to their historic norms, we would spiral out of control and into a recession, or worse.
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secondly, we cannot continue to put off structural changes in social security and medicare. i would think that republicans and democrats alike would agree that we want to save and preserve social security and medicare for our seniors. we may have different ideas about how to do that, but i would think we would agree on the goal, and so far we've heard something from the president -- heard nothing from the president to deal with our broken programs like social security and medicare. unless we are happy with a tax code that wastes economic resources, that stifles job creation, and promotes crony capitalism, we cannot delay genuine tax reform. so we have an opportunity. now, we don't have to speculate
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what bipartisan tax reform hooks like. we don't have to speculate. we don't have to start from scratch much that's because in 2010, two separate bipartisan commissions recommended lowering the rates and broadening the base and eliminating a the although of tax expenditures, deductions, and credits, which in order to get the revenue that the federal government needs to operate, every time you grant a new tax expenditure, deduction, or credit, what it means is we need to raise marginal tax rates, the percentage of tax that people need to pay out of their net income. why is that important? well, because the higher we raise marginal tax rates, it operates as a disincentive on small businesses and individuals who wer we're depending upon tow
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jobs. many small businesses don't operate as a corporation, a big "c" corporation. they operate as a subchapter "s" corporation. they operate as a sole proprietorship. the people that run those businesses, they pay flow-threw income on a person -- they pay flow-through income on a personal tax return. so higher marginal rates disincentivize those smaller businesses from spending money to hire new staff or to start a -- or expand their existing business. that's why keeping marineal in rates down -- marginal rates down low as we can for everybody is so important. yet before we get to this important point of dealing with our broken tax code, before we
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can implement this sort of comprehensive tax reform that they did in 1986 with president reagan and democrats in congress, we need to stop america from driving off the fiscal cliff. if we don't act between now and the end of the year -- republicans and democrats alike -- we will see the single-largest tax increase in american history. how is that possible? well, as you know, mr. president, because the so-called bush tax provisions that were passed and are getting ready to 1350eu expire, that thy lasted for ten years. in 2010, president obama agreed with republicans and our democratic friends agreed with us. as a matter of fact, the extension of the so-called bush tax rates were passed with 81 votes in the united states senate in 2010.
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at the time, president obama made what i thought was a perfectly sensible observation. he said in 2010, with the economy growing so slowly, with economic growth down around 3%, which was producing high unemployment because the economy wasn't growing fast enough, he said, it makes no sense to raise taxes during that kind of pro jill economic recovery. -- fragile economic recovery. which makes me wonder what has changed between now and 2010 except for the fact that economic growth is even slower, the economy is even worse today than it was in 2010. president obama has said, contrasted -- contrasted with what he said in 2010, he said,
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raising taxes will help som sole our long-term debt problems. he says raising taxes will help us solve our long-term debt problems. but it's hard to take that argument seriously if you look at it closely. first, according to the president's own treasury department, tax increases he's advocating would generate about $85 billion a year in new net revenue. these tax increases would generate about $85 billion in new net revenue. by comparison, the monthly budget deficit in october was $120 billion. the president says raise taxes would generate $85 before. the treasury is saying $85 billion doesn't close the gap to $120 obama, which i billion, whe current level of monthly deficits. and as we know, the federal government has run annual deficits in excess of $1
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trillion for at least each of the last four years. leading to a $16 trillion national debt, roughly the size of our entire economy. these are dangerous waters that we're navigating. the president has argued that we need to raise tanches bu taxes,s not provided a prescription for closing the gap between what the federal government spends and when we take in, even with these tax increases. and he's proposed nothing, absolutely nothing, to deal with our unsustainable entitlement programs, so we can keep the promise we made to our seniors 24that when they qualify for medicare and social security, that those programs will exist and be there for them. i don't believe we can tax or way back to budget surpluses and
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economic prosperity. i'm not a ph.d. in economics but i do think that it is a matter of commonsense to say we cannot tax our way back into prosperity. without major reining in of federal spending and entitlement reforms, we'll continue to continue to run up huge deficits which cumulatively will add to that $16 trillion in debt. that will happen, regardless of what we do on the revenue side, which is the only part of that equation the president has addressed so far. now, that brings me to my second pointed. -- second point. nearly four years after president obama was sworn in -- four years after he was first sworn in -- he has not yet given us a realistic plan for dealing with the deficit and debt reduction. you might say, well, he was
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unwilling to stick his toe into those difficult waters knowing that he was going to have to run for election again, because all of this is controversial, no question about it, on both sides of the aisle. but i would think now that the president has been reelected for another four years, he doesn't have to stand before the voters again, he would feel flexibili flexibility, he would feel like he has the political freedom to try to address this problem in a bipartisan way. last february, secretary guy geithner told the republican chairman of the house budget committee, "we're not coming before you to say we have a definitive solution to our long-term problem. what we know is we don't like yours." that strikes me as a strange response given the responsibility that we all have
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to protect the interests of our country and the american people when it comes to keeping us on a sound economic path and hopefully putting america back to work. it's easy in a campaign season for the president to talk about the need for a balanced approach when it comes to the budget. of course we all have our own ideas what balance -- how that balance should be struck. but a truly balanced approach would include reining in federal spending and preserving and protecting social security and medicare. it should include i think as a matter of political reality revenue, and our side of the aisle has identified ways that additional revenue might be put on the table, but that's simply not enough by itself to address the whole problem and is an unserious proposal in terms of
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solving the complex economic situation we find ourselves in. there is nothing balanced, though, about continuing to spend money we don't have and piling up trillions of dollars in new debt. it is irresponsible for our generation, mr. president, to impose on this generation of these young people sitting in front of me the debt they're going to have to pay. we're kidding ourselves if we think there's not a price to be paid for spending money we don't have. and we ought to be big enough, we ought to be responsible enough to these young people, to our constituents and to the american people to deal with this in a -- in a responsible way. that doesn't mean threatening america with a recession and
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almost a million people being put out of work if we drive off the fiscal cliff. it strikes me as the height of irresponsibility for the president or anyone else to say, "if i don't get what i want, we're going to put america into a recession." can you believe that? completely irresponsible. if the president's going to claim a mandate for governing, then he has the responsibility to offer a genuine solution to america's fiscal challenges. i'm not saying he's going to offer a plan that this side of the aisle is going to embrace, but what it does is it begins the negotiations we know we have to engage in between the difference sides of the argument and to try to come up with that 80/20 proposition that we can actually address these problems and leave some of our other fights and differences for a future day.
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unless the president offers a plan, his posturing over the national debt cannot be taken seriously. and if he threatens that "if i don't get what we're want, we're going to go off the cliff and put america in recession and americans out of work," that is irresponsible and i submit it would be a violation of the oath of office. a few final thoughts. none of us came to washington to try to play small ball. we came here to try to do important things. i accept the fact that 100 senators from every part of the country, from all political philosophies, they came here because they wanted to do the right thing for their constituents and the american people. i would stipulate to that. granted, we all have different philosophies of government and the role of government that might lead us in different
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directions. that's what our debates are all about. but it is irresponsible for anyone to suggest that we should not tackle these problems in an open and transparent and responsible sort of way. why would we want to play small ball? why would we want to refuse to tackle the nation's most serious fiscal problems? why would we want to continue to see 23 million americans either out of work or underemployed, people talking part-time jobs because they can't find full-time employment? of course, more americans back to work means more people who actually pay taxes, which is part of the solution to closing that gap between what we spend and what we bring in. i realize -- and i don't want to minimize -- the importance of the daunting challenges that we face, but we were sent here to
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face them, not go hide under our desk. not say, "well, i don't want to do that, i don't want to vote on that issue because i might get a -- an opponent in the next election." i believe that these enormous challenges are enormous opportunities in disguise. i admit, i come from texas, we are optimists by nature. we believe that for every challenge, every complication, every problem, somewhere in there is an opportunity for us to deal responsibly and in an accountable sort of way to our constituents to pass the long overdue reforms that would balance our budget, revitalize our economy, restore american competitiveness, and put
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americans back to work. none of us came here to play small ball. we now have a momentous opportunity to maybe swallow a little bit of our pride, to show a little humility maybe, something you don't think of when you think about politicians is humility. but i think we all have to realize the hand we've been dealt, not to look back and keep pointing the finger of blame, but to say, this is the hand we've been dealt, this is the job we have volunteered for and gotten a vote of confidence in the election that our constituents have enough confidence in here that we will act responsibly and not kick the can down the road and make the price for our inaction and irresponsibility paid for by the american people or these young people who sit here before me.
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i hope we seize that opportunity, mr. president. i want to be part of the solution. i'm willing to cast tough votes and i'm willing to stand before my constituents and say, you know what? we had to solve this problem. but as long as people are still engaged in campaigning rather than governing, as long as we're playing to the television audiences and the peanut gallery rather than trying to solve these problems, we won't do it. but i hope we'll seize it. i'm optimistic we will. mr. president, i yield the flo floor. and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll of the senate. quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. grassley: i ask that the calling of the quorum be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: in less than two months, american taxpayers are set to experience one of the largest tax increases in our history. with the elections behind us, it's time for us to work together, and in working together reach an agreement that can pass both chambers of congress and obviously it won't be worth it unless it's signed by the president so we have to work together. reaching an agreement isn't going to be easy, but must be done to avoid a good head-first off of what we call the fiscal
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cliff. by this time, we're all aware that the congressional budget office has warned that failing to come together threatens to send us into another recession. an agreement is certainly doable, but all we hear about is what revenues republicans are willing to put on the table we need to hear what the president and my colleagues on the other side are prepared to tackle in regard to reforming entitlements that are the long-term drivers of fiscal problems. that being said, we will not be able to reach an agreement if the other side continues to insist on punishing entrepreneurs and small businesses in the name of raising taxes on the so-called wealthy. my colleagues on the other side of the aisle seem to believe that tax increases, particularly on high-income individuals, does
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not have any consequences. they argue that raising taxes on the so-called wealthy will return us to the economic growth experienced at the height of the 1990's. this defies common sense. if you ask a business owner if raising his taxes will hinder his ability to grow his business, he assuredly will tell you that it will. he understands that the more the government takes from him, the less he has to put back into his business, and particularly if you're operating under cash flow. you aren't a corporation, you don't have equity, you don't go to the corporate bond market, you operate on cash flow, and the federal government takes more money out of that cash flow, then you wonder why you don't get unemployment down.
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this position taken by small businesses is in line with the general understanding around here that taxes can be used both as a carrot and a stick to affect behavior. if you want to discourage behavior, you somehow impose a tax. if you want to encourage behavior, you provide a tax incentive. for example, the excise tax on cigarettes has been increased to reduce the number of people smoking. a tax has been imposed on individuals for not purchasing insurance so more will purchase insurance. our tax code is littered with tax incentives to get people to do more of the things we like and less of the things we don't like. individuals and businesses have and do respond to these incentives. yet, if we are to believe the other side and their philosophy, when it comes to marginal income
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tax rates, the influence of taxes somehow seems to cease to exist. according to them, we can raise income taxes on higher income people as high as we want to somehow with no ill effect for jobs and the economy. in other words, if you want tax incentives to get people to do something, it seems to work. if you want tax decisions to discourage something, it seems to work. but when it comes to somehow taxing the wealthy, it just simply has no impact. but the truth of the matter is there are consequences to any tax policy you change. so i have news for my colleagues. high marginal tax rates influence many factors that contribute to economic growth. capital accumulation and the availability of a well-trained
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labor force are two important factors influenced by taxes. just as an increase in the excise tax on cigarettes leads to fewer packs of cigarettes purchased, increasing taxes on capital reduces capital accumulation. likewise, the more you tax labor, the fewer hours' work you'll get. in other words, taxes have consequences. taxes matter. some of my colleagues on the other side have pointed to a congressional research service report that they claim proves raising the top marginal tax rate does not impact economic growth. there has been ample criticism of this one analysis that i will not go into here, but even if one gives any creed tones this one analysis, it must be -- any credence to this one analysis, it must be viewed in a larger
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body of economic research that indicates higher taxes do hinder economic growth. this research confirms that high marginal tax rates reduces the hours worked and are a disincentive to small business owners and entrepreneurs. among this research is a 2007 study by chris teama roemer that -- christina roamer that found a tax increase of 1% of g.d.p. reduces economic growth by as much as 3%. according to this study, tax increases from have such an effect on economic growth because of, in the words of the study, -- quote -- "powerful negative effects of tax increases on investment vssments the last -- vssments. the last thing that we need to do now is discourage business investment. business investment has been stagnant. this has directly contributed to slower economic growth than past
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economic recoveries. it has always contributed to weak job creation and wage growth. you have to ask if there are more than a trillion dollars in the treasuries of corporations -- and i know that's corporate income, not the individual income i'm talking about -- but if there were incentives to invest and people knew the certainty of the future, you think that trillion dollars would be sitting in the treasuries of these corporations? no. not making them any money. they have to invest it, expand, create jobs, increase productivity. they'll get much more return on their money than having it in their mattress. you have to consider these things. raising marginal tax rates on entrepreneurs and business owners thereby reducing their after-tax rate of return cannot
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be an answer an helpful to our economy. we need to give entrepreneurs and business owners certainty. and a certainty that they need to start investing again. now, this international organization that we often refer to around here called the organization for economic cooperation and development, the oecd, has issued several reports analyzing how different forms of taxation impact economic growth. the oecd research found that income taxes significantly impact economic growth. according to this research, the most damaging tax was the corporate income tax followed by the individual income tax. the study further noted that highly progressive individual income tax rates are negatively associated with economic growth.
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the united states, of course, relies extensively on both corporate and individual income taxes. our corporate rate of 35% is the highest in oecd countries, which is a significant problem in its own right. at least a significant problem from the standpoint is the united states and our businesses going to be competitive with international competition. but a large number of american businesses aren't corporations. they're taxed at the individual rate. we're already -- we also already have a highly progressive tax system. in fact, according to the 2008 oecd study, we have -- quote -- "the most progressive tax system and collect the largest share of taxes from the richest 10% of the population" -- end of quote. and remember, the oecd is made
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up of about -- somewhere, 30-35 countries i believe. currently the top individual rate of 35% is the same as the top corporate rate. starting in 2013, if the president has his way, the top rate goes up to 39.6% with the second highest rate scheduled to go up from 36% to 33%. when you consider the effects of the personal exemption phaseout and limitations on itemized deductions, the marginal tax rate isn't 39.6% but it jumps to 41%. these tax increases obviously will behinder the growth of small business and, of course, slower business growth means slow job growth. what this country needs is not more taxes. we need more taxpayers. if you're going to have more
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taxpayers, you got to get some of the 23 million people that are looking for a job today back into the work force. and how are you going to get them back into the work force if you're increasing taxes and money is coming in to washington, d.c. for 535 of us to spend or decide how it's going to be spent, and the lesser economic good that will do than if it stays in the hands of about 150 million taxpayers around the country and they decide how it's going to be spent. evidence of this is documented. in a 2001 study available from the national breaux of economic -- bureau of economic research, this study looked at how the marginal rate cuts in the 1986 tax reform affected the growth of small firms. now, remember, the 1986 tax
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bill reduced marginal tax rates down to about 28%. more revenue came in. so don't tell me that you can -- you got to increase taxes to bring in more revenue and if you reduce tax rates you're going to bring in less revenue because we've got plenty of examples throughout the last 100 years that we know that's not the case. the study that i'm referring to, the 2001 study from the national bureau of economic research, showed that businesses that experienced the largest marginal rate cuts saw their businesses grow the fastest. conversely, the study concluded when marginal tax rates go up, the growth of small businesses goes down. similarly, in a 2005 study conducted by the small business administration found that -- quote -- "lower marginal rates on entrepreneurial income
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encouraged more entrepreneurial entry and lower rates of exit and lengthened the duration of the spells of activity" -- end of quote. that's from the small business administration. this means that if my colleagues are successful in raising the top two marginal rates, there will be less entrepreneurial activity. fewer people will seek to start their own businesses, and more current business owners will be looking to close up shop. in other words, if you want to cozy up to the corporations of america with a 35% tax rate where it is now, and you want to make small businesses go up to 41%, you're going to have more people employed by corporations and less by small business. shouldn't we be encouraging small business to a greater extent than we do corporations? or at least keep it competitive.
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and you don't keep it competitive by having a lower corporate tax rate than you do for small entrepreneurs. further research confirms that higher marginal tax rates leads to fewer hours worked. and fewer hours worked means that the laborers of america are going to make less money. you don't make money by just sitting around. the 2008 study that appeared in "the journal of monetary economics" and a 2004 study conducted by the federal reserve bank of minneapolis-st. paul showed how it impacted the labor supply across time and across countries. it's important you consider across countries because we're in a global economy. and competition from other countries is very important.
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both of these studies found that countries with higher marginal tax rates generally work fewer hours. conversely, those with low marginal rates worked more hours. in fact, these studies controlling for variable other -- other variables found that the marginal tax rate accounted for -- quote -- "the vast majority or preponderance of the differences of hours worked." research by economist michael kean has highlighted that high marginal rates have the biggest impact on labor over the long run. this is because the effect of marginal rates on lifetime decisions. while a sudden increase in taxes may not lead to an immediate shift in current hours worked, it will impact future decisions, he found. for instance, higher marginal rates will discourage the
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accumulation of human capital through work experience and training. his review of research in this area further concluded that the effect of high marginal tax rates is especially pro nowndz -- pronounced when it comes to women's participation in the work force. so if you want a war on women, don't want them to get jobs, increase the high marginal tax rates and have less hours worked. there are many more examples of economic research that point to high tax rates hindering economic growth. for the sake of time, i'm not going to go through all of them. instead, unanimous consent sciewk at -- i ask unanimous consent at the end of these remarks to place a list of about 20 studies in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. grassley: thank you. this is pie bye no means an exhaustive list i'll put in the record but i believe they provide a good starting point for my colleagues who are interested in learning the truth about the impact of increasing
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taxes. or that taxes do have consequences. some good consequences, some bad consequences. you got to consider all of them. in sum, this research suggests that soaking the rich will only reduce incentives for work and entrepreneur, therebying reducing economic growth and i'll just give he give you some examples. it means for a couple deciding whether or not a spouse who left the work force should go back to work, taxes matter. it means that for an individual who is considering investing in his own human capital, investing their own human capital through education or training to increase their earning potential, taxes matter. for a small business owner considering hiring employees, purchasing equipment, or expanding their business, taxes
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matter. for an entrepreneur deciding whether or not a business venture is worth pursuing, taxes do matter. let me turn to another argument used by my colleagues on the other side to support increasing taxes. this argument is that tax increases on the wealthy are necessary to reduce the deficit and balance the budget. in other words, from their point of view, just look at the income side of the equation. don't spend a lot of time over here on how much congress spends, but the truth of the matter is we don't have a tax problem in america as far as our budget deficit is concerned. we have an expenditure problem. because congress spends more than it takes in. the truth is that there are not enough so-called rich people to make this happen. in other words, make it happen that by increasing taxes on the
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wealthy you're going to take care of the budget deficit. based on 2009 tax returns, if you raise the top marginal tax rate on income over $200,000, to 100% -- that's not taxation, that's con fi scition but if you did this, you would come short of covering the $1.1 trillion budget deficit for the fiscal year 2012. and i said that wrong. if you did this, you would still come short of covering the $1.1 trillion budget deficit for the year of last year. now, this back-of-the-envelope calculation assumes people will not work less or engage in tax planning or fraud to avoid a confiscatory tax.
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i imagine my colleagues on the other side would even concede that this would be the case with such a high rate. for people out there who think they don't have to worry about the president's proposal because you're not wealthy, i have a message for you as well. you should be worried because in order to tackle the defendant and pay -- deficit and pay for all the proposed new spending, the president will soon have to increase taxes on individuals under 2,000. that's not the issue today. just over 200,000. but eventually you know how it goes, you get more money coming in, you spend more money and you borrow more money, you want to do more. people can't be satisfied today that for 50 years the federal government has taken about 20% of the gross national product for 535 of us to decide how to spend. in the last four years, that's gone up to 25%. now i think about -- 24%.
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government expenditures have grown tremendously. hasn't solved the problems of unemployment. but they're going to want to keep it there. but if we can get by for 50 years at 20% of gross domestic product, why does it have to go to -- tkpwrot national product, why does it have to go to 25%? because somehow the attitude in washington, d.c. is that 535 members of congress know better how to run this economy than the other 80%. the 80% that can be spent by the private sector. and you have great faith in government, and government's necessary, and government's legitimate, and government's constitutional.
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but government will never take the place of the dynamics of our economy and do the good that the american economy and the private sector will do. the war on poverty has ended up with more people being in poverty. in other words, who won the war on poverty? poverty won. the president, of course, claims that he wants a balanced approach to deficit reduction. he says we should do a combination of tax increases and spending cuts. so far he's been rather specific about his tax increases. however, he has not said much about entitlements that are going to be the main drivers of our national debt over the coming years and decades. the president needs to lead in this area to get serious discussion rolling. now people are going to hear me say that. they're going to say that's a republican who wants to shift all the blame to the president of the united states and suggest
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pending reductions. but don't forget since 1922 we've had an executive budget and we always wait for the president to present his budget and spending proposals to the congress of the united states so i don't think it's unreasonable to ask the president to say where he's coming from if he thinks we ought to have spending cuts. he ought to be offering serious solutions, not just attacking those that have been offered by members of congress. given my tenure in congress, i learned to be skeptical when people around here start saying we will reduce the deficit by raising taxes now and somehow cutting spending later, especially when no specifics are articulated regarding what programs can be cut and what reforms they will accept for addressing entitlements. it's been my experience in these situation the taxes always go up and the spending cuts never happen. and it's -- the way congress works is the reason for this.
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because you decide taxes ought to go up here becomes permanent law. they're not reviewed every year like the appropriations are reviewed every year. at the first year of the agreement, you start out down here with the appropriations but they get reviewed from year to year and they gradually go up. so the agreement that you're going to have, let's say it's been recently talked about $1 tax increases for $3 of expenditures. so you get the $1 increase -- doesn't sound like much, does it, but it's permanent law. but the $3 you're supposed to get reduction of expenditures is probably $3 the first year but the next year it's a little bit less and less and less, and pretty soon this agreement amounts to nothing but blue sky and smoke screen. some around here -- oh, i should give some authority to what i
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said about congress raising taxes and the deficit not going down. i quote quite often a person i don't know, but i've read that he writes for various articles and books on this subject. professor vetter of one of ohio's universities has studied tax increases and spending for more than two decades. he confirms this recent research where i just simply said it's been my experience in these situations taxes always go, but the spending cuts never really happen in the end. professor vetter looked at tax increases and spending spanning the spaoefrd time since -- the period of time since the end of world war ii through 2009 and discovered this -- quote -- "each dollar of new tax revenue has been associated with $1.17 in new spending. so raise taxes $1, everybody back home would think, welshing
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you raised taxes -- well, you raised taxes $1, you'll have $1 less deficit. but not in reality according to professor vetter. you're going to spend $1.17. like a dog chasing its tail. it will never find it and you're never going to reduce the deficit if you consider you only have a taxing problem; you don't have an expenditure problem. if we're ever going to get a handle on the deficit, we're going to need to learn to live within our means. spending as a percent of g.d.p. has averaged about 20.5% since 1970. i need to correct myself because i previously said over a 50-year period of time, but that may not be too far off either. but at least since 1970, 20.5%. from 1998 to 2001, when we did balance the budget, spending as a percent of g.d.p. averaged about 18.5%. in fact, we have never balanced a budget with spending as a
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percent of g.d.p. exceeding 20%. spending under president obama has averaged about 24.5% of g.d.p. we must curtail our spending if we ever hope to balance the budget in the future. some around here insist that cutting spending will be damaging, if not more so than increasing taxes. they use the rationale of spending multiphraoeurts -- multipliers pushed by some economists that suggest for every dollar of spending by the government we will get more than a dollar of economic activity. this theory is deeply flawed. even if we assume the government spends money wisely with no fraud, waste, or abuse -- and that of course is a big if" it means one less dollar to be spent by the private sector. if this was solid economic theory, our economy should be booming given all the money that we've been spending around here particularly over the last three
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or four years. the truth is spending is not the solution to our problems. it is the problem. it is what's got us into the mess that we're in. for my colleagues who are still wedded to the idea that tax increases are preferable to spending cuts, i recommend reading a study by harvard economist alberto alisina. given the fiscal shape of many countries he studied the impact of spending and tax policies put in place to address fiscal imbalances. his research con khraoupded concluded -- quote -- "fiscal adjustments based upon spending cuts are much less costly in terms of output losses than tax-based ones. in particular, spending-based adjustments have been associated with mild and short-lived recessions in many cases with no recession at all. instead tax-based adjustments have been followed by prolonged
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and deep recessions." this kind of fits in with the philosophy that president obama had when he was sworn in. he said, you know, i ran on a platform in 2008 of increasing taxes. but, we got a recession. we shouldn't increase taxes. so we didn't increase taxes. two years later they were supposed to go up, and he decided in 2010 we shouldn't increase taxes. we're he -- we still have 8% unemployment. should you increase taxes, take capital out of the private sector, bring it to washington and expect people to hire people? no. i think that go according to professor alisina, as well as president obama when he was sworn in and in the year 2010, we're still in a recession and we ought to think in terms of now of raising taxes further, of doing what professor alisina
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said that when you reduce taxes to somehow solve fiscal problems, they're followed by prolonged and deep recessions. this is already the deepest recession since the 1930's. how much deeper do you want it to go before we wake up to the political realities of -- the political reality -- i mean the economic realities. now, alisina's research paper comes on the heels of a paper he also released in the year 2009. this paper similarly found that policies favoring spending cuts over tax policies are more likely to reduce the deficit. in other words, reduce the deficit, bring more money in? no, not according to to professor vetter. but also according to to professor alisin sp*eu, you're more apt to get fiscal problems
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taken care of by being careful how you spend. in other words, fiscal adjustment based upon spending cuts and no tax increases are more likely to reduce deficits and debt over gross domestic product ratios than those based upon tax increases. end of quote. these studies confirm what through sheer common sense, winston churchill knew more than a half a century ago -- quote -- "for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle." but i referred to a winston churchill's common sense. it doesn't always prevail here in this town because this town is an island surrounded by reality. and people outside of this town understand the impact of tax increases. people in this town don't seem to understand that. in coming weeks i hope to work
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with my colleagues and the president to reach a bipartisan agreement to help put our country back on a sound fiscal footing. however, as i said in the beginning, it can't be just one side of the aisle that is expected to come to the table. my colleagues on the other side must be willing to put real reforms to address entitlements and our i don't have control spending -- and our out-of-control spending on the table simultaneously. hopefully tomorrow the president is meeting with congressional leaders, and hopefully out of that meeting will come a reality that we've got to have both taxes and spending on the table and that there will be principles adopted that will help those of us that aren't in the leadership going to the white house, be able to put together the specifics. but i would recommend to the president, process is as important as the substance of
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the issue right now. and that process, i bring this process up because you've got to get people talking. you've got to get a process going. and since the president appointed the simpson-bowles commission and they reported, and they had a very sweeping report but it was one that the president did not endorse. i suppose something in it he didn't like, and he thought he wouldn't get reelected if he endorsed it. i think what the president ought to do is suggest getting simpson-bowles process going again, and that process will work us towards an agreement. i don't agree with everything in simpson-bowles. there are some things in it that i absolutely disagree with. but it's a process that's very important. and i was in a meeting this morning where the junior senator from washington state talked about the importance of process.
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she happens to be a democrat. process right now is important. you've got to get people in a structured organization to go along. and that simpson-bowles approach, even though the president didn't endorse it, it was followed in congress for the next few months by a lot of people who wanted to make it work even if the president didn't want to make it work. and there were very conservative senators and very liberal senators that were part of that process. but they really couldn't get, move the process along very much when -- couldn't move the process along when the president wasn't going to endorse the recommendations of his own commission. i yield the floor.
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i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. reid: madam president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask that the calling of the quorumming terminated. officer without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that on monday, november 26, it be in order for senator sessions or his designee to be recognized in order to raise a budget point of order against the reid-for-tester amendment 7875, and it be in order to make a motion to waive the point of order. at 5:30 on monday, november 26, the senate vote on the motion to
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waive, if raid. if successful,ed reid amendment 2877, 2876 and 28878 be withdrawn enblofnlg the reid for tester substitute amendment be agreed to that nigh further amendments or be in order prior to passage of the bill and the senate proceed to vote on passage of the s. 2535 as amend and if the motion to waive is not successful, senator harry reid be recognized. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: mr. president, we've had a number of individuals come to the floor over the last several months and say we want t to move to the defense authorization bill. so i said yesterday, fine, let's move to it. what senator levin and mccain said they wanted are relevant amendments. i said, fine, we'll do it. but my friends can't take "yes"
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for an answer. so we'll come back after the recess for things gaffing and look at -- for thanksgiving and look at it again and maybe by then they can take "yes" for an answer. if we're going to notify these billings and have -- move to these bills and have amendments offered -- that's what they want -- that's what i said they could do -- i don't fully understand the problem. but i'm not filing cloture on the motion to proceed. i'm not going to do that. it's an important bill, but i want the record to be very clear. i'm not the cause -- we're not the cause of this defense authorization bill not being brought to the floor. i have agreed to do it, as i was requested to do by both senator levin and senator mccain. so i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. the presiding officer: the nuclear from new jersey. mr. menendez: i ask that the
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quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. menendez: i rise to celebrate the people of new jersey, many of whom lost everything in superstorm sandy but who came through one of the most devastating storms in our state's history, battered but not broken. the storm struck new jersey with extraordinary force. it was the entry point of superstorm sandy, and the surge came quickly, destroying whole communities, taking homes from their foundations, changing the topography of the coastline, devastating some of the most densely populated communities in the country. taking lives and taking property. leaving new jerseyans without power but not powerless. without the personal supposes accumulated over -- possessions accumulated over a lifetime but with their families and memories intact, memories that are the foundation upon which new
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jerseyans are recovering and rebuilding their lives and their communities. with the help of fema and other federal agencies -- the american red cross, countless volunteers from around the country, state, and local officials working overtime to help -- new jersey will come back stronger and better, and we are more determined than ever to rebuild and restore our communities to where they were. the the people of new jersey withstood the unbridled power of nature. a power of nature strengthened by manmade climate change to create an unprecedented storm and unprecedented damage. and i want to share with my colleagues some of the photos showing the devastation and why new jersey needs a strong federal partner if we hope to rebelieve. rebuild. as you can see, sangdy mixed all forms of transportation with a
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force we haven't seen in many years. this is a shipping container and a large pleasure boat tossed on to the morgan rail bridge on the north jersey coastline along with tons of debris. the container from the shipping lines, the ship on a bridge that obviously was a rail bridge. you can see we've got a lot of work to do, with scenes like this up and down the coast. in this photograph, you can see the kind of damage that our rail lines have suffered, heaved from the railroad beds and buckled. this again is along the north jersey coastline, which had miles of track damage just like this and in need of millions of dollars in repair. in fact, 40% of the nation's transit riders from washington to boston had their service interrupted. dozens and dozens of new jersey transit locomotives and rail
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cars were damaged by flooding. and so today i'm proud to announce that we expedited $25 million in transportation funding to help ease that situation. but some commuters into new york, for example, from my home state of new jersey are still suffering four-hour commutes with rail service only about half of what it normally is, largely because there's still not enough power for all the trains. in the meantime, new jersey has added subsidized ferry service to make up the difference with the department of transportation providing over 300 -- the federal department of transportation providing over 300 buses to help serve those new ferry lines, including one out of liberty state park. here's another photograph of the extraordinary power that sandy's surge lifted boats on to the rail bridge along the north jersey coastline.
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amazingly, through the hard work of new jersey transit workers, this devastated rail line might be able to resume limited service by the end of this week. but this line, like many other commuter lines in new jersey, will need much more extensive work to get service levels back to normal and to make more permanent repairs to ensure long-term reliability. but beyond the transportation damage, it's important to remember that some lost everything in the storm and some lost their lives. and our thoughts and prayers go out to all the families who lost loved ones to superstorm sandy. i toured some of the worst hit areas with the president -- with president obama and governor christie and spoke to new jerseyans who suffered extraordinary loss and were hit the hardest. now, some of these photos that i'm about to show now i took myself. they may not be the best photographs and i may not be the
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best photographer, but they show a small part of the overall destruction that my state has suffered. you can see this photograph from the coast guard plane i was aboard, some of the destruction in sandy hook, new jersey. these homes are deeply underwater, many of them rendered impossible to return to for a significant period of ti time. there are other homes i'll show you in which people just cannot return home to what was their home. this is a photograph of the flooding in the manteloken area north of seaside heights that submerged cars and cost millions dollars of damage and thousands to be displaced from their homes. and this bridge actually collapsed at the end there, leaving this whole section difficult in terms of exit off
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the barrier islands. i took the next two photographs while touring northern new jersey. i've shown most of the pictures from the shore area, which took the hardest hit because that was the entry point largely for superstorm sandy, but not everywhere was just along the shore. here's an example of the type of flooding that took place in hoboken, new jersey. on the nieft the stor night of s flooding was just beginning and it only got worse. so much so that it took the national guard to rescue residents from their homes days -- days -- after the storm. it filled the streets with overflow from combined sewer -- combined sewer flows and from sewage plants. gasoline was wreaking in the air, a danger to the health and well-being of the residents and
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it made the damage even worse than anyone had imagined possible. the next photograph is from -- i took is from observer highway. this is a major their fair thorr between two major areas of hoboken and jersey city, the second largest city in our state. i can't remember ever seeing the area so expansively underwater and i hope never see it again. and all of these cars were floating, some of them crashing into each other, rendered largely useless. and, of course, stopping a major thoroughfare for days in terms of anybody being able to get through. and if the images don't give you a sense of the destruction and the loss that families have suffered, then this next
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photograph encapsulate encapsule power of the storm to take away all that people worked for their whole lives. it's in the faces of the people i met. here in pleasantville, new jersey, which is right outside atlantic city, along a section there, the mayor of pleasantville took me to meet a series of residents whose homes had been ripped apart. so i'm standing outside of the person's home almost as if it was a doll house looking in. and i would love to have said that this poor gentleman, that it was only him, but it was an entire community of homes whose homes had been ripped apart. and you could see into their homes. and it shows the nature of the breadth and scope the devastation. it's not that he lost a shingle, it's that he lost the whole side of his home, now exposed to the
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elements, and, of course, everything ripped apart. the other thing about this picture, in addition to the incredible destruction, is the resiliency. when i went to share my sentiments and my concern with this gentleman, he asked me, "how are you doing, senator?" and i said, well, sir, what's more important, how are you doing? he said, "i'm doing fine. i'm here, i'm alive, and i still got part of my home." so sometimes when we think about how difficult our lives might be at any given moment, i think about this gentleman and the extraordinary resiliency he had in the midst of probably one of the most difficult times in his life and so many other new jerseyans who i met like that. i met a young woman in hoboken whose entire basement apartment was flooded, totally gong, lost everything that she had worked for in her young professional life.
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and in the midst of that tragedy for her, she was at a shelter running the shelter, helping everybody else who had been displaced, some not as badly as her, not thinking about her tomorrow but thinking about her fellow citizens in hoboken, new jersey. i met some poor families who were not badly affected by the storm who opened up their homes and their kitchen table to individuals who were their neighbors who were hurt very badly. and even though they didn't have a lot to put around the kitchen table, they were sharing what they had. so i saw citizens risk their own lives to save their neighbors' lives in the rushing water and heard their accounts. and so i saw the better angels of people in the midst of the storm. the fact is, mr. president, that despite the damage and the
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displacement, the human suffering and the loss of property, possessions, personal photographs, family memories, the people of new jersey held together. neighbors came together to help one another. as much as they were shaken and mourned their own loss, they worked together to help each other, to save each other, to begin the recovery, to get new jersey back on its feet. and federal and state and local governments were there to help. the federal response was quick and it was effective, but there is still so much more that we need to do. and still more that we can do to help those families who are still without shelter, still without a place to return to call home, and without a clear picture of what the future holds. the storm was unprecedented in the breadth of its devastation. and while our shoreline was hard-hit, that doesn't begin to describe the full impact. some of our nation's most densely populated communities
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were also hit very hard, requiring one of the biggest rescue and recovery efforts we've seen. a response that size obviously takes time but we acted quickly and will continue to do what needs to be done. after surveying sandy's damage with president obama and governor christie on october the 31st, senator lautenberg and i called for increased support from the federal government to deal with the costs of response efforts. in a letter to the president, we asked that the federal share for disaster response be increased from the standard 75% to a much higher possibly 100% because of the devastating impact of what meteorologists have called a perfect storm. the president initially issued a disaster declaration for eight new jersey counties, and along with senator lautenberg, we requested additional counties be included and they were. before walking with the president and the governor through brigantaken to, new jersey, i had the opportunity to tour the destruction in
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pleasantville and hoboken and jersey city and communities in bergen county. and what i saw was unlike anything i've ever seen in my lifetime in those communities. i'm very grateful that the president came to new jersey with the full force of the federal government to see and respond firsthand to the devastation the hurricane left in its wake. i have proudly lived in new jersey all of my life, and seeing the garden state in ruin was heartbreaking. the shore of my youth is gone, much of it lies in the ocean for ages. but it made me realize that in times of tragedy, in times of storms like sandy, we need government at all levels to come together. all of us rolling up our sleeves to help our neighbors recover and rebuild and reclaim their lives. we need to make certain that we secure all of the resources necessary to help new jersey and every community affected by this horrible storm to rebuild and emerge stronger than before. since the storm, i have
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requested emergency funding for new jersey's transportation network, highways, rail lines, ports and airports that were devastated by the storm. i asked the president and secretary lahood for emergency funds to repair highways and bridges and to expedite assistance to all impacted modes of transportation. i called on the president to dispatch emergency fuel and power supplies to new jersey to ease the fuel shortage and to keep emergency vehicles running in the immediate aftermath of the storm and to ensure critical infrastructure, water treatment and sanitation facilities, we received the help of the army corps of engineers to have these facilities remain operable. and the federal government also responded with $10 million in emergency funding for some of those critical transportation needs, freed up 2 million gallons of fuel from the northeast oil reserve, and the e.p.a. took action that rerouted the fuel to new jersey when it needed it the most. the federal response also included a grant for new jersey to hire a thousand workers to help communities clean up from the storm.
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but despite all of that, many families in my state are still suffering. they have lost much. many are displaced. some permanently from their homes. that's why i've called for the immediate suspension of foreclosures and evictions for all new jersey homeowners who facfaced financial difficulties before the storm and now are suffering additional difficulties in the wake of it and for swift action to expand emergency mortgage payment relief to all new jersey homeowners who have lost income as a result of hurricane sandy. and that's why we must work to give them certainty of what the federal government will do to help them rebuild their lives so they can make critical decisions as to their futures. mr. president, what i take away from this experience is the fact that we are all in this together, one community, each of us dependent on the other, each of us working to rebuild and
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recover for the benefit of all of us in new jersey but i believe all of us in the country. that's what community is all about, it's the heart of our motto, e pluribus unum," from many, one. we have just debated the role of government in our lives and i would say we need to refocus on what government does to rebuild the spirit of community that we have seen in action in the aftermath of this devastating storm. americans across the country were rivetted by the stories of the immediate aftermath of the storm. pictures of communities under water, homes moved blocks down the road, homes and trains blocking federal highways, hospitals closed, gas lines miles long, people waiting hours for fuel to run generators and keep their homes heated, weeks of fuel rationing and no transit or amtrak service for
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the entire region for people to get to work or visit their families. without a doubt, those have been trying times for new jersey, but now just because those scenes may no longer be showing in living rooms across the country doesn't mean that the recovery is over. thousands of families are still displaced from their homes and will be for months to come. transit lines are still out. community infrastructure still has to be rebuilt. now is not the time for the federal government to walk away. it's more crucial now than ever for the federal government to help devastated communities rebuild, help families get the assistance they need to repair their homes and put their lives back together. i for one will not rest until the rebuilding is done. this is one country, the united states of america. that's why when there was destruction in new orleans with
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katrina, in florida, in joplin, missouri or crop destruction in the midwest, i came along with other colleagues to support those communities. i viewed it as my time to stand with my fellow americans in distress. now it's time for my fellow americans to stand with new jersey. new jersey has been battered but we are not broken. we're stronger and more united in our efforts to work together to recover, rebuild and recommit ourselves to uniting around our common concerns and shared values rather than divided by our differences. that's the lesson we learned, and together we will rebuild and the garden state will bloom once again. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor and observe the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask consent the quorum call be suspended. promise without objection. mr. durbin: -- the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: i ask to speak in morning business. over the past few years we've seen a dramatic increase in sale of energy drinks in america, common fixtures in grocery stores, gas station, convenience stores, everywhere you turn. they target young people. the flashy ads and names like monster and rock star and with claims to increase attention, stamina and even to help with weight loss. according to one study, 30% to 50% of adolescents, teenagers, consume energy drinks.
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sadly, as the sale of energy drinks has grown, so has the alarming evidence that these energy drinks pose a potential threat to our nation's health. yesterday "the new york times" featured an article that found that the food and drug administration has received 13 adverse event reports for people who died -- who died -- after consuming 5-hour energy drinks. just last month news reports found that five people died -- five -- after consuming monster energy drinks. this last may i met the mother and family of a 14-year-old, anise fournier from maryland. this lovely young teenager lost her life last december when she went into cardiac arrest caused by caffeine toxicity after she tkrafrpbgz two -- two --
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trafrpbg -- drank two 24 ounce energy drinks in less than 24 hours. shoefs -- she was an honor student and great writer. an american academy of peed i can't particular -- pediatric study recommends teenagers consume no more than 100 milli grams a day. a 24-ounce can of monster energy drink contains 276 milligrams of caffeine, almost three times the amount that this academy recommends as the limit an adolescent would consume in a day. 276 milligrams. in less than 24 hours anise fournier consumed 552 milligrams
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of caffeine in less than 24 hours, the equivalent of drinking 16 12-ounce coca-colas. mounting evidence shows tragic stories are becoming more common. a recent report by samsha shows energy drinks pose potentially serious health risks. emergency room visits due to energy drinks increased tenfold between 2005 and 2009, from 1,128 e.r. visits in 2005 to 13,114 emergency room visits in 2009 linked to energy drinks in america. there are serious health concerns about ingesting high levels of caffeine in energy drinks. and i might also add many added ingredients that are also stimulants and contain even
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additional caffeine that are added to the drinks. the food and drug administration currently limits the level of caffeine in soda -- the kind you buy over the counter -- to no more than 71 milligrams in a 12-ounce can. remember the number for the 24-ounce can of monster? 276. almost four times the limit of what can be sold legally as a beverage regulated by the f.d.a. in america. let me show thu -- show you this 5-hour energy poster. everyone is familiar with it everywhere. literally everywhere. i watched on television over the last week they are advertising a promotion of 5-hour energy drinks saying some of the proceeds from the sale will go to promote research on breast cancer. there's almost a suggestion there's something healthy about this product. let's talk about it for a
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moment. compare that limit of 71 milligrams of caffeine in a 12-ounce can of soda or pop to the 215 to 242 milligrams of caffeine in this small two-ounce bottle of 5-hour energy, or the 135 milligrams in a 12-ounce can of monster energy. some energy drinks contain 300 milligrams of caffeine in a 12-ounce serving. as we all know, most energy drinks are not sold in 12-ounce cans. they're sold in 16, 24 and 32-ounce cans. two 24 ounce monster drinks took the life of anise fournier. these drinks contain more than caffeine. we tkphoepbt all -- don't know l the products included but they contain ginsing. the f.d.a. has the right to
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require to prove additives are safe. but most energy drinks avoid oversight by marketing their product not as beverages but dietary supplement. you have to flip around and look at the bottom in the tiniest lettering dietary supplement. why? because as a dietary supplement they're not regulated. they can sell what they like. unfortunately, they sell products that contain so much caffeine, they're dangerous. my colleague, senator blumenthal of connecticut, who is here on the floor and i sent the food and drug administration three letters, three times calling on this agency to take action to ensure that caffeine levels and ingredients in energy drinks are safe, particularly for kids. we've urged the agency to issue final guidance distinguishing beverages and liquid dietary
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supplement c

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